Race Recap: Cleveland Marathon Challenge Series 2017- Part 3

Sunday!!!!!! It was finally here, the day that I have been working towards for so long. Wake up call was at 4 and I hit the road by 4:30. I was riding solo in the morning, so it was quick to toss my running gear on and get out the door. I did check the weather before I left and was a little scared of what I saw but Ohio is so fickle. I said a little prayer for no lightening and was on my way. The ride up went pretty quick and I had a game plan of where I wanted to park so I drove right there and was walking to the start a little before 6.

I was a little concerned

Ready to roll

The official start line

Crowd support

Hello Cleveland!

The first person I ran into was Dan and I did a little happy dance because I knew what was coming later after the race. (more on that later) I used the facilities and headed over to the start line where I ran into some of my ambassador friends Stephanie and Pam. Soon after we found Jess, Sarah, Stephani and Jamie! We hung out for a bit, talked about the plan for the race, the weather and eased each others nerves a bit.

They then, it was getting close to take off time, so I hit up the potties one last time and started to line up. My original plan was to run with Rachel and then meet up with my old work buddy Tim and do a few miles. I had found Tim and then found Rachel on our way to the corral. It seemed way more packed then what I remember in the past years, but maybe because we got to the line up much later. Either way, I was super jazzed about getting out there. Rachel was looking for Sarah so I hung back with Tim. Super fun fact about Rachel is that she's a legit running coach too! So, she had written up a plan for me that I fully intended on following. I think I need to work on following plans better, generally speaking in life, Ill have a plan and then not always even follow half of it. Such is life.

Ready to rock!

Me and Tim- most motivational runner I know!

Since today was so special and the 40th anniversary of the race, the announcer proclaimed the day in Cleveland officially "Jack Staph Day". He is such a great man and has been part of this race for as long as it has been a race.  A few minutes later" Cleveland rocks" started to play and it was time to roll!  I freaking LOVE that song when I'm standing in downtown Cleveland waiting for the marathon to start! I don't think too much else in life gets me pumped up more.

Off we went! The first few miles were a lot of dodging and weaving to get a good pace. I was really happy when the first miles popped up on my watch as 10:15.  That was exactly on track for the Rachel plan!  I thought, ok- this could actually really happen. I just had to keep on task for another 12 miles, no big deal. I kept up with Tim until we headed up the first larger hill and then I needed to take a little walk break. He was running about 9:40 and I knew that I hadn't trained that fast for a long run so I peeled back for about 30 seconds. I didn't run into Tim again after that. I felt like I was cruising for awhile and when I looked down the miles seemed to tick by.

Still feeling strong
I had kept my music in for the most part and that was keeping me company but I was surprised how much I missed a running buddy! There was plenty of people around that I could talk to and I did at some points but I was getting tired and my strong feeling seemed to have worn off a little by mile 6ish. I know that it was a crazy busy weekend and I had been downtown the larger part of the day on Saturday. I think I was feeling spent and even a little dehydrated. Every water stop from that point on I walked and took a cup of water and powerade. This helped a little bit and I kept moving.

Almost done!

The miles kept going by and soon I was at mile 11. This is always the tough part of a half for me, similar to mile 20 of a marathon mentally I think. I looked at my watch and knew that the goal of breaking my PR (2:21) was more than likely not happening today. I was a little disappointed with myself knowing that maybe I should have trained harder or stuck to the plan better but why beat myself up? I kept moving and crossed that finish line with a time of 2:26:05. Not my best time but the most memorable race weekend of my life!

Go Bobcats!

Me and Coach Rachel

I got my medal and chocolate milk and pretzels and called my mom and Chad to tell them how it went. Then I went to pick up my challenge series medal which was really awesome!  It was starting to rain and for as hot as I was out on the course, I was wishing I used the gear check for a long sleeve shirt. I called Rachel and she told me to meet her at the breakfast, so I walked over there and had a really amazing breakfast with her and her family. It was fun to sit for a minute and talk about our racing experience that day. It was great to just have time to hang out too. My intent was to go back to the finish line and wait for Stephanie to come in and watch her boyfriend propose and watch my other friend Stephani roll in from her 2nd full marathon but I was so cold and not feeling great at this point that I decided to walk back to my car and head back. By the time I got to my car I was able to see this. There was a video that I watched about 5 times and I was so happy for them!  What an incredible weekend of running and love! 

So happy!!!! Great job Dan!

Best race swag yet!

It was an overall amazing experience being a part of this 40th anniversary race! 
Thank you to Jack, Ralph, Kayla and Joan!  They work so hard all year for this race and they also let me be a part of it and I couldn't be more honored!
Thanks to the many volunteers out there who made this race possible and greeted us all at every water stop with a smile and a cup of water! You guys help so much more than you know!
And thanks to my family- Chad, Mom, Dad and my boys who support me so much with all of the hours training and spending time pounding the pavement. There is no way that I would ever be able to attempt this without you!

Cheers to 40 years of running Cleveland!  You nailed it!


Race Recap: Cleveland Marathon Challenge Series 2017- Part 2

Saturday started quite early, up at 4:30 and out the door at 6 with the whole family jammed into the car, snacks and all. With all the excitement from the evening before, I barely noticed the early timing of it all!

Dad was slated to run the 5K. I had signed him up last year to get the "I survived" t-shirt from last year and totally had forgotten about it until Friday. The kids were all set up and registered to run the kids run and my running bestie Lynanne was joining me for the 8K.

We made our way to downtown and the start area about 7:45ish. Race day is always so exciting and I was glad to quickly run into a bunch of familiar faces!  It was a little cooler than I had anticipated, but perfect weather to run in. The kids were hanging out with my mom while dad and I ran our part, knowing that they were going to run a little later.

Me and Lynanne

Some of my awesome ambassador peeps!

Before we knew it we were off and running. Both the 5K and 8K people started together so it was easy. I knew that I would run this, but I also knew I wasn't really in it to race. It was a good distance to run the day before a race. Within the first half mile we saw the drummer guy from all of the Indians games banging on his drum keeping us moving. We thanked him for being there, it always gets me excited to see other people excited to watch a race! It was great having Lynanne there because it felt like a normal training run with some people cheering us on. We took it easy and kept the pace close to our normal pace. We usually run 4 to 5 minutes and then walk 30 seconds to a minute. I really was enjoying the new course. It had been awhile since I had run downtown, so it was nice to see some of the sights again. I felt good and strong the whole time and the miles seemed to tick by. Before I knew it we were headed to the finish line and the boys were waiting to run me in. At that point Lynanne noticed that my dad was right there too, so we all got to run across the finish line together, it was really cool!

My finish time was 53:44 (10:48) and I ranked 22/49 in my age group. I'll totally take it :)

Finish line for the win
Dad is a machine

I was so proud of my dad for doing so well with his 5K that he hadn't trained for at all!  He is a badass and really just killed it. The kids had a blast running in with me and a special thanks to my mom for hanging out with them while we ran!  She said that the boys really thought it was cool to watch some of the younger runners come in! We got some water and some snacks and then had a little time to kill before the kids festivities were kicking off. We walked around a little and Ryan found one of those message rocks and was thrilled!

One happy dude!

Eventually we made it back to the kids area and it was so cute! Generally my rule is to only race the weekends that I don't have the kids to not take too much time away from them so they have not participated in this kids run before, but I'm so glad that we did!  It was a BLAST! They had awesome music going, it was really well organized and enclosed!  I had envisioned trying to run with both boys and one taking off and not being able to keep track of them both but it was ENCLOSED!  The kids ran in different age groups. Jack ran first with the 4 year olds. It was a quick 100 yard dash, 50 yards in one direction and then 50 yards back. Mom had walked across to wait on the other side to cheer them both on. Jack's group took off and it was the cutest thing! All of the kids were trying so hard and ran as fast as their little legs could take them. Ryan's group was shortly after Jack's and they had the same out and back. Both boys were quite pleased with their medals and their new t-shirts they received. The older kids ran a little loop around the kids area so we cheered them on for awhile.

Runner Jack

Ryan running it in!

The kids were all very excited to see that the minions were there! Of course we had to go and say hello and take a photo with them. My cousin and her little girl had surprised up and were there to cheer on the kids so we spent quite awhile hanging out in the kids area after it cleared out a little. the kids had a ball running around and playing with the cool toys that the Simplay3 company had brought. Jack ended up actually taking on home! We spent a few more hours downtown having lunch and letting the boys explore the city. Jack took that big wheel out for about a 2 hour cruise. The kids loved it and we were all so worn out by the time we finally made it home.

Having a blast!

Where is Jack?

Kings of the world at the Rock Hall

Overall, I really, really loved the new location of the 5K/8K. Downtown is just so easy to navigate. There were plenty of facilities, plenty of parking, and it was easy to find. The kids activities were just awesome too! The race groups were small and well managed and not congested, the kids received cute medals and there were plenty of snacks! I will definitely be participating in both events again in the coming years! 


Race Recap: Cleveland Marathon Challenge Series 2017- Part 1

Its not really any secret that I love the Cleveland Marathon. Race weekend is like Christmas to me and for the past three years now,  I have had the extreme honor of being a part of this race as an ambassador. This is not a gig I take lightly and its hard to really explain the magic that happens when we all get together. I don't even know how it happened, but as soon as I met these people we just all kind of clicked. I may be the biggest sap of the group, but I know that I'm not speaking for just myself when I say that we are truly family. We support each other and really have been there for each other thru lot of ups and downs of running and life.

Of course I was really excited to kick off the best weekend of the year at the expo! As we were driving into the city, I could feel the excitement starting to build as we passed
Progressive Field and made it towards the expo. I picked up all the packets for my dad, the boys, my running bestie Lynanne and myself. There were a lot of bags and bibs and swag but it was great! Cleveland really did not disappoint this year for the 40th with the swag. All runners received really sweet commemorative key chains and all challenge participants received awesomely cozy 40th anniversary blankets. This was all before we even ran! 

While I was at the expo, I ran into Holly, then quickly saw Stephanie and Dan!  We were all busy walking around and knew the VIP dinner was just around the corner, so we gave hugs and were on our way. I rushed over to see Jill and get a (signed copy) of her book. Then I saw Rachel and Stephani and we gave all the hugs and stopped for an official expo race photo.

Look mom, its me!

Badass Jill and her book!

Me, Stephani, and Rachel

Next up for the evening was the VIP dinner at the beautiful and historic Hyatt Arcade. I was especially excited to finally introduce my boyfriend Chad to everyone. They had all head about him and were eager to meet him too. My goal was to get a cute picture of us all dressed up since that really doesn't happen too often. I had no idea what was in store for me! As we arrived, we into everyone and I started introductions. We decided to get a drink and since people were already seated, we followed suit and got in line for some of the amazing food that they had prepared. The food was delicious but I was really eying up that dessert table. I'm kicking myself for not taking a photo of it in all of its glory! We really enjoyed the food and talking to the other ambassadors and other race people. We listed to Jack talk about the race and saw that he was presented an award. It always is inspiring to see the legacy runners, ones who have run the race every year!

Before I knew it, it was picture time! The arcade is just so pretty and I love having a picture of all of my ambassador friends each year looking all snazzy! 

See, we all clean up really nice.

After the group picture, I asked Chad if he wanted to get a picture of us and he looked really nervous so I said ok, lets wait until it clears out a little bit. We waited and then a few minutes later I asked if he was ready. He said ok and then said lets go up to the landing. I was thinking that the view from the landing might not be the best, but ok, ill go with it and then it happened. Before I knew what hit me he took my hands and told me how much he loved me, dropped to one knee and then I think I blacked out. When I realized what was happening, I heard him say "is that a yes?" and of course I said YES! and then heard all of my friends cheering and clapping for us! Chad is so quiet and unassuming and is his not his norm to do any kind of public display like this so I was just so unbelievably blown away! I would have said yes anywhere, but the fact he did it on the weekend that I love and in front of the people that I adore meant the world to me! It was hands down one of the most exciting moments of my entire life.

Complete and total shock!

For the rest of the evening, I was floating on air. Chad said he was hoping for an opportunity to ask and that maybe people wouldn't notice. As luck would have it people did notice and we are now able to have these amazing pictures to remember this moment until we are old and grey! I still cant even believe how lucky I am to have found such an amazing partner and get to spend the rest of my life with my best friend. He is simply home to me.

We drove home smiling like fools and I tried to get some rest before day 2 of the amazing fun weekend continued. More on the rest of the weekend tomorrow!


RUNCLE40- why i love you CLE

Two years ago as I stepped up to the start line of the Cleveland Marathon, I felt on top of the world. I had trained and prepared and was ready to tackle anything. I had been selected to be an ambassador for the race the previous fall and that came at a time in my life where I REALLY needed a focus. I needed some kind of big goal to take my mind off of what was going on with my life at the moment and that was a divorce and spending time away from my boys.

So, I ran.

I ran I and I ran and I ran on the days that I didn’t have the kids each weekend and formed some pretty amazing bonds with the other ambassadors for the race and it gave me something that was so positive to focus on and I will be forever grateful. That year I completed my first ever full marathon. My fellow ambassadors inspired the hell out of me. I’m so lucky to call them my friends. They are some of the most inspiring and motivating people out there. And most of all, they helped me to believe in myself.

I really believe that people come into your life just as you need them. Now, three training seasons later, you are still inspiring me daily to achieve more than I thought would ever be possible.  Thank you CLE friends! Cheers to you and some good weather this weekend!


RunCLE40- Lucky number 8

Here we go, we are officially 1 week from race day!  I'm so freaking excited! I LOOOOOOVE race week. There is something about it that just feels electric! I haven't been that great of a blogger lately because life has been well, busy!  But I have so much to say. The last few weeks have been FUN.

I had a meet up with some of the other ambassadors and it made me really excited to spend time with them. I cant really explain how we just all click, but we just do. And getting any amount of time with them is always so fun.

Love these guys!

Later that week I ran the Hall of Fame marathon relay and got some serious time with  my friend (and fellow ambassador) Stephani. I have a whole recap of that race that ill post later. But we just talked and talked and talked, it was just the most fun time!

This is us, having a hoot of a good time! I just love her!

My Ryan turned the big 6 and we had a little celebration for him, How in the world is he 6?  Then the boys and I went to watch my running bestie run her 2nd marathon in Pittsburgh! We spent the rest of the day exploring the city and the Science Museum.

Look at that 6 year old!

Lynanne, the runner of Steel!

Its been crazy!  But all good crazy! I have been averaging about 18-20 miles a week and I'm feeling strong and ready for my 8th half marathon! I thought it might be fun to see how far I have come since my first half. These are all from my athlinks page. Do you have one?  Its really fun to track all of you official results.

The first half marathon I did was back in 2010 and It was a big deal. I knew I could at least walk it if nothing else and I did basically walk a good portion of it. I had just found out I was pregnant with Ryan and I was seriously under-trained. The best memory of that race was that I ran with my mom. She was pretty hardcore and I'm sure it was hard for her to slow to my pace that day.

In 2012, I was ready!  Ryan has just turned 1 and I had put in a decent amount of training for the day. I felt strong and really good to go. I had a girls weekend planned with my friend Susannah and we stayed the night in Cleveland so it was super easy to get the start line. The night before I started feeling really sick, and the morning of I knew it was going to be a struggle. By mile 2, I told Susannah to go on without me and walked the rest. It was painful. I had a nasty sinus infection and was getting the cold chills on a 80 degree day. I finished, but I wanted a do over.

In 2014, I got my do-over. I took a year off in the middle to have Jack but was back at it and had trained my ass off. I was really and so freaking excited to run that day. I ran a really good race that day and it was so fun to have both of the boys at the finish line!

In 2015 Lynanne and I ran Akron on a whim and then last year we did Pittsburgh and Cleveland back to back. Cleveland last year was truly terribly conditions but it is my PR!  Then early this year we did a half in Youngstown. I was super undertrained and the hills killed me, but it was still fun.

But this is it. A week from right now ill be hopefully 8-9 miles into my 8th half. My goal of this half marathon is to PR and I think that is a very possible goal. I have never really run to race. I know that I'm not in it to win it by any means and honestly, I just like to have fun when I run. I really like soaking up all of the crowds. I like high fiving all of the kids who want to and I like stopping for really stupid pictures. So, the thought of actually running it to beat a super specific time is a little bit scary for me to be perfectly honest. Im so excited and cant wait to see all the fun of this coming week! What are your goals of CLE?  Are you racing? Or do you just soak it all up? All that I know is that I cant freaking wait!!!!!  Here we go Cleveland!  40 looks so good on you! See you all at the start line!